Many people dream of competing in marquee Super Late Model races like the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway.  Giovanni Bromante checked that item off his list and so much more Sunday.

 

The Long Island youngster made his Super Late Model debut in style in the 2019 Southern Super Series season opener, holding off defending race winner Harrison Burton for the victory.

 

For Bromante, the win comes after his 2018 Pro Late Model season was cut short due to a back injury suffered in a dirt bike accident last October.  However, “Gio” didn’t miss a beat behind the wheel, fulfilling a dream moment in his first-ever Super Late Model race.

 

“Man, it’s awesome,” Bromante said in victory lane.  “It’s like a dream come true.  I never knew that I would come to this race, first Super Late Model race out here.  To win this race is just huge.”

 

Bromante now joins some of the true greats in short track racing who have won the event since 1974.

 

“It’s just such an honor to actually be here in victory lane,” said Bromante.  “It’s a dream come true.”

 

To take the win, Bromante had to fend off a late charge from 2018 Rattler 250 winner Harrison Burton. Burton said he barely mistimed his late-race push for the lead, but enjoyed the close competition with Bromante.

 

“It was a close race,” Burton said.  “That first little bit of that last segment, I thought, gee, he’s getting too far out and we won’t be able to run him down.  I started my chase probably two laps too late.  If I had been able to race him, it would have been a really fun race.”

 

Two-time Rattler winner Ty Majeski was also in the mix throughout the race, and it was Majeski who surrendered the lead to Bromante for the final time on Lap 176. 

 

“I thought there was going to be a competition caution.  Gio’s car was really good on the short runs, but I got him mid-run.  I thought there was going to be another yellow and we’d have another restart later in the race.  I let those guys go and race and hoped for a late-race caution, but it never came.  That’s part of it.  Sometimes you play your cards right, sometimes you play them wrong. Today we played them wrong.”

 

Part of the tradition of winning the Rattler 250 is a victory lane meeting with a live rattlesnake, often with a photo opportunity with the snake draped over the winner’s shoulders.  Was Bromante hesitant to meet the reptile?

 

Not even a little bit.

 

“I wanna hold it.”

 

The Southern Super Series’ next event will also serve as the opener for the four-race Blizzard Series season opener at Five Flags Speedway as the road to the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby begins.

 

Race fans who missed Sunday’s Rattler 250 can watch an on-demand replay of the race now on Speed51.

 

-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans

-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo

 

43rd Annual Rattler 250 Official Results

South Alabama Speedway (AL) - March 17, 2019

Pos # Driver
1 81 Giovanni Bromante
2 12 Harrison Burton
3 91 Ty Majeski
4 14 Connor Okrzesik
5 17 Josh Brock
6 54 Jeff Fultz
7 24 Colin Garrett
8 21 Jeremy Pate
9 20D Jack Dossey III
10 50 Jett Noland
11 51 Stephen Nasse
12 34 Nolan Pope
13 26 Bubba Pollard
14 78 Corey Heim
15 10 Steve Dorer
16 4 Kyle Plott
17 14N Austin Nason
18 18 Casey Roderick
19 71 Dawson Fletcher
20 97 Steven Davis
21 20S Anthony Sergi
22 66 Logan Bearden
23 112 Augie Grill
24 79 Kyle Bryant

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He’s Back: Gio Meets Snake in Super Late Model Debut